Captain Doug

Captain Doug was born in 1946 so that makes him almost an ‘old geezer’ now.    When a baby, he was kidnapped by pirates when his au pair turned her pretty head and was subsequently  raised in the South Seas where he learned all things nautical.   Escaping to safety and taken under the wing of the South Pacific Seabees, he was hired to drop coconuts on heads of actors in the musical during appropriate times–a skill he has never forgotten.   Tiring of the life of a teenage pirate he plundered his way back home  to take up mountaineering….

….and graduated cum see cum saw from Lake Washington High School in 1964.

After graduation and yearning for more adventure, he joined the Navy Seabees to quench his thirst for building airstrips in war zones  in Vietnam.   The skipper of his Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB 10)  could see this young lad had a salty nature and took him in as his special double-agent running secret messages through heavily fortified enemy lines.

To confuse the enemy, his alter-identity was a mild mannered clerk-typist who created all sorts of havok:

Burnishing his considerable literary skills in the tropical sun and reminiscing about his coconut throwing days, he created his finest masterpiece which was envy of many famous writers of the day, such as the likes of Earnest Hemingway:

… was likely not the literary skill that attracted this to the skipper, nor the cleverness and hidden meaning, but perhaps his brave foray into the night to nail this up on every post in the Seabee Base nearly setting off a riot the next morning.  Or perhaps it was forging the skipper’s name at the bottom and mailing it to the “complete distribution” list in the Pacific theater (CINCPACFLT) a month before this very same skipper was to be promoted to Admiral.  It was a toss-up as far as the subsequent disciplinary action stated and our young brave future captain was asked to mow rice paddies for 6 weeks of hard labor.

So armed with a scythe and after a full day’s scheduled toil in the hot tropical sun, our brave captain found himself stealthily practicing his golf swing knee deep in rice paddies under the full  tropical moon.  On his last night of such duty, with his golf swing nearly perfected, and while walking back to his barracks, he was greeted by the entire officer’s contingent who then picked our young lad up on their shoulders and carried him to the officer’s club for drinks to celebrate the humiliation of their skipper.

Returning home two years later, after recovering from malaria and many other tropical diseases, many of which are not discussed in polite company, our young tanned ‘captain’ took up  serious study at the noted and hallowed halls of the University of Washington, in Seattle.

There he discovered grain alcohol, women, and mountain climbing probably in that order among dabbling in Geology, Biochemistry, Aeronautical Engineering, Russian and other trivial academic pursuits. Just prior to completing his studies, he was quickly hastened to the White House to receive honors for his war service from members of Congress and ultimately, our nation’s highest political figure, the paragon of honesty and integrity:

Graduating in the upper 4/5ths of his class in 1970, he then turned his attentions to serving his country as a federal law enforcement agent….:

… the wilds of NW Wyoming working as a National Park Ranger in mountain rescue.  His adventures there were chronicled in the famous book by Heinrich Harrer:  “Seven Years in Tetonia.”   Finally growing weary of helicopters and icy cliffs, Captain Leen pursued scholarship yet again returning to his Alma Mater–this time studying the lofty profession of….. dentistry.

And he indeed became a noble doctor working in the slums of Seattle–where women lived recklessly–practicing his craft in  Seattle’s Pike Place Public Market.  And for 20 years, he nearly faded from sight ministering to the poor.

But Captain Leen soon became bored with dentistry…..imagine….. and his mind wandered to far off places, the south seas where he grew up.   He couldn’t wait to return.   To test his wanderlust, he briefly shipped out on a three masted schooner, Tole Mour,  to the Marshalls spending three months running across coral atolls in his bare feet and separating the natives from their teeth.  Pulled eastward by an unknown force, he worked his way through Micronesia:  Kosrae, Truk, Pohnpei, Yap, Palau and Peleliu.   Gazing towards the South China Sea, he knew he had to return but more diseased teeth awaited him in back in Seattle and a derelict old tug called Winamac.  The year was 1988.

Now, big projects never intimidated Captain Leen and he completed a full restoration of the 1909 Winimac in 18 months only to see her sunk on her maiden voyage.   Undaunted, he bought another 1933 yacht Betty B and began the real search for the perfect vessel.

But the search wasn’t fruitful so in 1990, the Captain again returned to the South Seas on his favorite Tole Mour schooner where there was still an abundance of rum, fine cigars and naked women; a formula pleasing to his continence and so he indulged himself in the number 1 local custom:

It was there that he made up his mind to sell all his worldly possessions and ship out for good.  Perhaps on a tramp steamer like the Inchcliffe Castle.  He hurried back to Seattle and began planning the ultimate adventure–retirement.

To gain a sense of perspective and sense of direction, he lifted his exquisitely honed, extrasensory nose in the air and sniffed the perfect direction to pursue–north this time!  In the air was a faint hint of the most perfect nectar every to flow in the Scottish highland moors–the golden source of Duggan’s Dew of Kirkintilloch.

And in 1999 he left Seattle with his old goldstone walrus hide suitcase with little more than the clothes on his back and headed first for Scotland,  Ireland and finally Norway where he had heard that beer flowed in the streets and blonds abound–which was almost the case.  He trained all over Europe walking around all major cities until his shoes fell apart but he kept walking ending up in Bavaria quite by accident where beer indeed, did flow in the street–a place he spent much of his time.  He swam the waters in Venice and played Beethoven’s piano in Vienna to a standing ovation.

Then another tramp steamer to New Zealand where he’d read that mountains appeared from the sea–all of which he proceeded to climb.  Australia was nearby and his curious nature led him to cross it’s Martian surface more than once, outrunning crocs in Darwin,  discovering the fermented grapes of the Barossa Valley, sitting with the Queen of Denmark at the Sydney Opera House and working as a drover in the outback.

Meanwhile back in Seattle, a notable vessel appeared out of the fog, clouded in secrecy, mystery and…..divorce.  She was ripe for the picking and could be had cheap.  The deal was struck and Captain Leen hurried back to Seattle to take command of his own ship–the noble Tugboat Katahdin.  After a 6 year restoration and numerous lawsuits, she sailed gallantly northward in the footsteps of Captain Vancouver……

First Mate………!      Hand me my Rose Colored Glasses!

To be continued at the whim of the captain….

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